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Using Web-Based Social Media to Recruit Heavy-Drinking Young Adults for Sleep Intervention: Prospective Observational Study.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Novel alcohol prevention strategies are needed for heavy-drinking young adults. Sleep problems are common among young adults who drink heavily and are a risk factor for developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Young adults, interested in the connection between sleep and alcohol, are open to getting help with their sleep. Therefore, sleep interventions may offer an innovative solution. This study evaluates social media advertising for reaching young adults and recruiting them for a new alcohol prevention program focused on sleep. OBJECTIVE:This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness and cost of using Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat advertising to reach young adults who drink heavily for a sleep intervention; characterize responders' sleep, alcohol use, and related concerns and interests; and identify the most appealing advertising content. METHODS:In study 1, advertisements targeting young adults with sleep concerns, heavy alcohol use, or interest in participating in a sleep program ran over 3 months. Advertisements directed volunteers to a brief web-based survey to determine initial sleep program eligibility and characterize the concerns or interests that attracted them to click the advertisement. In study 2, three advertisements ran simultaneously for 2 days to enable us to compare the effectiveness of specific advertising themes. RESULTS:In study 1, advertisements generated 13,638 clicks, 909 surveys, and 27 enrolled volunteers in 3 months across the social media platforms. Fees averaged US $0.27 per click, US $3.99 per completed survey, US $11.43 per volunteer meeting initial screening eligibility, and US $106.59 per study enrollee. On average, those who completed the web-based survey were 21.1 (SD 2.3) years of age, and 69.4% (631/909) were female. Most reported sleep concerns (725/909, 79.8%) and an interest in the connection between sleep and alcohol use (547/909, 60.2%), but few had drinking concerns (49/909, 5.4%). About one-third (317/909, 34.9%) were identified as being at risk for developing an AUD based on a validated alcohol screener. Among this subsample, 8.5% (27/317) met the final criteria and were enrolled in the trial. Some volunteers also referred additional volunteers by word of mouth. In study 2, advertisements targeting sleep yielded a higher response rate than advertisements targeting alcohol use (0.91% vs 0.56% click rate, respectively; P<.001). CONCLUSIONS:Social media advertisements designed to target young adults with sleep concerns reached those who also drank alcohol heavily, despite few being concerned about their drinking. Moreover, advertisements focused on sleep were more effective than those focused on drinking. Compared with previous studies, cost-effectiveness was moderate for engagement (impressions to clicks), excellent for conversion (clicks to survey completion), and reasonable for enrollment. These data demonstrate the utility of social media advertising focused on sleep to reach young adults who drink heavily and recruit them for intervention.

SUBMITTER: Ash GI 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7448185 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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